Opening to the world: Global Initiatives at the Lower School

Starting with our youngest students, Poly’s Global Initiatives Program (GIP) seeks to develop and instill within students the tools and experiences necessary so they may become considerate, contributing, and connected global citizens. At the Lower School, global awareness is reflected primarily through class activities and projects, cultural interaction with students from overseas, and lessons from seasoned Upper School GIP students.

Mission Statement

The Polytechnic School’s Global Initiatives Program supports the school’s mission and credo by fostering an interest in, an understanding of, and a respect for the dignity and worth of fellow human beings and their cultures worldwide. An understanding of the world calls for a willingness to learn through study, to reach out and communicate with one another in interaction, and to realize that we can help shape the future by service and listening. The Global Initiatives Program seeks to prepare all Poly graduates to live with confidence and good character in a rapidly changing and globally connected world.

Lessons and Projects

Global education at Poly begins in the Lower School. The two foundational principles of a Poly global citizen, “Similarities and Differences” happen to be the name of a multicultural unit embedded in year one of the Poly curriculum. In addition, kindergarteners participate in a multi-culturalism festival that features native costumes, global songs and dances, and culminates with a parent-child feast featuring ethnic cuisines from the world over. During the next five years, Poly’s global citizens of the future travel the Earth’s continents via classroom online and interpersonal school exchanges, and activities that explore international holiday celebrations, family heritages and traditions, world geography, global folktales, and matters of immigration. These specific lessons are addressed through thought-provoking themes, such as “Urban, suburban and rural communities,” “Diversity of Culture,” current events, and community service.

Cultural Interaction

In recent years, Lower School students have taken on the role of ambassadors, as they hosted third grade students from Shanghai and fifth grade students from Kyoto and have sent gifts, letters, curricular lessons, and stuffed pet coyotes to peers around the world, from Cambodia to Cyprus, Mali to Mexico, and New Zealand to Norway. First-graders from around the world have sent stuffed animals from their own nation and letters to the Poly students. In addition, high school students from Japan, New Zealand, France, and China made several visits to first grade classes.


Community outreach is an integral part of Poly’s global studies program. Examples of service projects in the Lower School include:
  • Through recycling efforts, kindergarteners raised funds to adopt a toucan, panda, and stingray through the World Wildlife Fund. They also purchased Beanie Babies to send to every child at a school in Haiti. During the annual Unicef trick-or-treating collection program, nearly $300 was raised. 
  • Second-graders participated with the International School in Seoul, South Korea, in "A Book Marks Our World" program that helps children in different places around the globe connect through reading. 
  • Fifth-graders collected Box Tops for Education and raised funds to purchase a goat, chickens, rabbits, and ducks. 
  • The Lower School Student Council hosted several food sales to support Aid Africa, Rainforest Action Network, and the Central Asia Institute.

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